Let's zelt!

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Let's zelt!

Postby Chomley-Warner » Sat May 02, 2009 6:07 pm

As promised, photo guide to kipping in zelt.

Each soldier would have carried a zelt quarter, one zelt rope, three poles and three tent pegs. Therefore four men could make up a tent which four small WW2 size people could use although I don't think comfort would have been a word used and I guess only two or three would actually be kipping at any one time. For me, four tents make a one person tent - room for bed and kit or if you are friendly, two men and very little kit!

You will need four zelts to make a tent.
Take a look at how the edge seams are constructed as the folded and stitched edging needs to be on the inside - if you have a SS oakleaf zelt the green summer side will be on the outside.
Each zelt should have three 28cm cord loops permanently attached - on both bottom corners and the middle bottom edge, knotted through the smaller grommets, knot on the inside.
Use 6mm jute sash cord from B&Q for this - its a very close match to original cords. A 12.5m pack will be enough for a complete tent plus plenty to spare.
Middle rope loop
Corner detail

While you have the cord out make up four ropes from the cord. Cut four lengths of 230cm, fold back each end 15cm and bind with cotton string in a reasonably authentic way so that your final size is 200cm long. These ropes are useful for holding up awnings, extra support lines if its windy and other general lashing purposes.

Button together the sides of each pair of zelts, making sure you do up both the inner and outer buttons, until the first zelt meets the last and the pyramid is constructed.
Peg out the back two corners then crawl under and put in your centre support.
Now, here's a thing. You should use four pole sections. I find that this gives a strange scalloped look to the flat sides that is impossible to remove even by adjusting pegs and tension. Perhaps its meant to be like this (the steeper the slope, the quicker the rain runs off and maybe the scallops assist this) or there is something I'm doing wrong but anyway, I have my own solution. Either use three pole sections or as I have done, make up a single piece pole. I've used a 1.25" x 46" square section bit of wood that was in the garage with a piece of 15mm copper pipe hammered into the end. I've fitted a handy hook into it to hang the lantern from (or hang your smart tunic :lol: ). This does method does lower the height but actually gives more floor area and volume.
Four pole centre section
Three pole centre section
Here I've undone one side, supported each corner with three pole sections and added a guy rope to each.

The height of the tent can be adjusted using the pegs to either allow ventilation along bottom edge or dropped down to allow water run-off, or indeed a the edge flap dropped into a perimeter trench.

I'm a rubbish camper. For some reason I get very cold and so I go a bit overboard on sleeping kit. I start off with a ground sheet (from an IPK kit which costs a fiver or less) then lay a foam roll mat on that. On top of than goes a thermarest mattress. The idea being that not only is there some cushioning beneath me but if also give a lot of insulation so body warmth doesn't get lost to the ground. On top of that is a wool blanket for warmth and also to give and absorbent layer between the body and plastic membranes, which would otherwise be prone to condensation. Another wool blanket rolled up serves as a pillow, then goes the sleeping bag topped off by a blanket or two. If its a really warm summer night then the constricting sleeping bag is done away with.
IPK ground sheet
Foam roll mat
Wool blanket & pillow

Note: the tent pegs and poles are post war Swiss so not reenactor standard but easily obtainable for a tenner or less for three poles and pegs in a splinter bag.

In theory you shouldn't need to waterproof zelts - they work like conventional tenting material in that the fibres swell when wet therefore sealing the open weave. This is fine but when its raining you must avoid touching the inside surface else water will drip from that point. However, I'm not convinced these modern repros are made from the close weave poplin of the originals and so everyone waterproofs, just in case! Don't bother with expensive camping shop bottles or sprays - use Thompsons Water Seal from the DIY store, much cheaper and its really only silicone you are waterproofing with. Use a paintbrush and be liberal but be sure to dry properly and make sure its well aired. DO NOT do this on your lawn - I did and ended up with a perfect triangle burned on the grass!
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Re: Let's zelt!

Postby Zero Bravo » Sun May 03, 2009 11:32 am

What an excellent tutorial, fantastic job there CW :good:
Although I'm not one for sharing any info with the Allies, that guide is far too good to keep in the Axis only section of this game. I like the last picture with the lamp, it looks really cozy. I'm hoping to pick up my first zelt before Gultch, now all I've got to do is convince the wife I still need another 3 :rofl:
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Re: Let's zelt!

Postby Chomley-Warner » Sun May 03, 2009 12:37 pm

True to say - its a bloody expensive tent, and a really basic one at that.
I wouldn't encourage anyone to buy all that, I've accumulated it over time, but if you do it will look awesome!
British 'two-man' post-war pup tents can be had for £25 and still give a WW2 look to an encampment - soooo much better than a sea of orange nylon. Having said that, please don't feel obliged to ditch the nylon since they are practical and if you have one already why spend again, they don't form part of the game, just a bit of fun that's all!
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Re: Let's zelt!

Postby Steve.D » Sun May 03, 2009 4:02 pm

Nice guide, for me to buy all that would be more than I have paid for all my German kit :wink:


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